As timber suppliers in Brisbane, it is our responsibility to keep up on regulations, forestry practices and how they affect us. We are vocal proponents of responsible and sustainable forestry and only accept timber that has been ethically sourced. Timber must be sourced in a sustainable manner, especially closer to us, in Queensland.
We would like to tell you about some local and state issues that are important to all of us, even those who don’t know it right now.
South-East Queensland Forest Agreement (SEQFA)
The SEQFA is an agreement that was signed in 1999. It guarantees a 25-year supply of timber to the timber industry by issuing 25-year sales permits. This has allowed timber companies to make significant investments and provide jobs in regional towns. It did this by providing a secure timber supply which helped boost industry confidence.
The main thrust of this agreement is that by 2025, timber harvesting will have transitioned completely from native forests to private forests and plantations. The agreement was the work of the Government, the timber industry and the conservation movement.
How the Timber Industry Gained
Only three out of thirty mills were affected in a negative way by this agreement. The remaining 27 mills were guaranteed 25 years of the same level of resource supply as before the agreement. In addition, 5,000 hectares of plantations were created as an alternative source for mills that were receiving an allocation from any Queensland forest.
The Government also established incentives for any mill that began ecologically sustainable forest management practices on private land. Incentives were also established for the industry to move towards hardwood plantation timbers and value-added hardwood products. To diversify the economic bases of relevant regional communities, a regional development program was created.
The Conservation Benefits
The conservation reserve system benefited, immediately adding 425,000 hectares of forest. The agreement prohibits the logging of old growth on public land or wilderness. 17% of the Queensland State Forest and Timber Reserve was put into a category known as “last resort for logging.” No additional harvesting of wood or forest products and no wood chipping exports are allowed from native forests.
Areas that are outside of the reserves were allowed to be logged one time only and only under the Code of Practice, which means sustainable and ethical logging with habitat trees retained. It also set a 2024 time limit for the end of logging on all public South-East Queensland forest land. Conservation reserves were more than doubled on the day the agreement took effect, increasing to 782,000 hectares from 357,000 hectares.
It guaranteed that the amount of conservation territory on native forest land would rise from 73% to 100%, including most of the area identified as “high quality fauna habitat.” All native forests in areas designated as “icon areas” are now reserved, with many new reserves created and many original reserves gaining territory.
How the Community Benefited
Most of the rural centres affected enjoyed either a stabilisation or increase in jobs. Long term employment allows the regional communities to retain their social fabric. The only mill that closed immediately was in the Sunshine Coast where there were plenty of job opportunities. Any displaced mill workers were offered assistance in finding new jobs.
How We All Benefit
Conserving our forest land is crucial to keeping Australia a beautiful place to live. It is also important that we plant trees to replace every one we take down. The trees that are planted turn CO2 from the environment into carbon by making wood out of it and release the oxygen back into our atmosphere. This creates a negative “carbon footprint,” increases oxygen and decreases greenhouse gases.
To learn more, call Narangba Timbers today: (07) 3888 1293.